The Cochrane Register of Studies (CRS) is both a data management tool and a data repository, developed in partnership with Metaxis Ltd. As a data management tool, it helps Cochrane Groups develop their Specialised Registers and supports literature searching for Cochrane Systematic Reviews; as a data repository, it is a ‘meta-register’ of Specialised Registers from all Cochrane groups.
Each Cochrane group has its own CRS ‘segment’. Typically this segment will contain the Group’s Specialised Register, all studies and their reports from the included and excluded sections of their Cochrane Reviews, and all references they have submitted to the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL). It may also contain other records of general interest to the Group, e.g. background papers.
The CRS contains a combination of public and private records, so the whole CRS is not publicly available. Editing rights to the CRS are restricted to Cochrane Groups that maintain a Specialised Register. In addition to the CRS standalone version, there is also the Cochrane Register of Studies Online (CRSO). This is a real time version of the CENTRAL, which up until now has only been accessible as part of the Cochrane Library. The CRSO is available only to Cochrane members. The CRSO has search and retrieval functionality suitable for wider use by anyone contributing to the work of the Collaboration. Contributors see both records published in CENTRAL via our publishers, John Wiley & Sons, and those waiting to be published. In the CRSO it is also possible to see how records link to studies and reviews.
The CRS is part of the full suite of Cochrane software and has been designed from the outset to integrate with RevMan and Archie – future developments will see even greater integration among the software used to produce reviews. For example, the CRS data repository is a key component of the Cochrane Linked Data project, which aims to make use of the links among Reviews, studies and their reports to help review teams find trials more efficiently and help other users find related items more easily.